Improve Onboarding Time-to-Productivity with an HR Onboarding System

by Mike Tannian on February 01, 2022

Learn how to improve public sector time to productivity with an HR onboarding system and other human resources onboarding improvements.

Article Highlights: 

It doesn’t matter how brilliant your new hire may be, there’s always a steep learning curve in the first days and weeks of a new job. Between completing new hire paperwork and attending orientation, new employees must adapt to organizational norms, familiarize themselves with a job’s day-to-day responsibilities, and navigate new internal processes.  

Reducing onboarding time to productivity shortens this learning curve so employees can make contributions to your organization sooner. Organizations that dedicate resources towards building an effective onboarding process increase the productivity of new employees by more than 70%. A shorter time to productivity also saves organizational resources since you can spend less time on onboarding. 

Fortunately, decreasing time to productivity is as straightforward as refining your HR onboarding process. This article will discuss steps you can take to improve new hire time to productivity, from using an HR onboarding system to providing clear expectations throughout the human resources onboarding process. 

1. Find the Right Match for Company Culture

If you’ve hired someone who isn’t the right fit for a job (or your organization), you’ll face a challenging time making them productive – no matter how robust your onboarding process may be. As a result, if you want to reduce onboarding time-to-productivity, you need to ensure you’re bringing the right people into your organization in the first place.

Review job descriptions to ensure they accurately reflect your organizational culture and the day-to-day responsibilities of the job. An accurate job description ensures the hiring team knows what skills to hire for and reduces the training a new hire will require. Rather than spending time learning essential skills for the job, new employees can hit the ground running because they already have the foundational knowledge needed to succeed. 

Additionally, accurate job descriptions let new hires make an educated guess about whether they’ll enjoy their work environment, which can lead to better employee retention and satisfaction at your organization. Employees who are aligned with their organization’s culture are also more likely to experience team cohesion. These strong team dynamics are correlated with higher productivity, with 72% of organizations identifying this trend in a study

2. Standardize Your Human Resources Onboarding Process with an HR Onboarding System

Organizations that rely on a structured onboarding program report 54% higher new hire productivity than organizations with less organized approaches. Standard HR onboarding solutions establish clear guidelines about what must be completed and by when. As a result, new hires don’t waste time wondering what they should do in their first weeks of employment and can focus on completing required tasks. 

To standardize your onboarding process, provide clear direction about the tasks a new hire must complete. Items on the onboarding task list may include:

  • Filling out mandatory new hire paperwork, like the I9 and W4
  • Attending orientation
  • Completing required training

An HR onboarding system, like NEOGOV’s Onboard, can help you automate and share these tasks. HR professionals can use Onboard to assign new hires a to-do list so they know what needs to be completed and when. Employees can then log into their employee self-service portal and use HR onboarding tools, like digital signatures, to complete required paperwork before their first day.

You can also use Onboard to streamline communication between departments. An automated and customizable onboarding workflow makes it easy for every department in your organization to understand their roles and responsibilities. As a result, departments know their responsibilities for each stage in the onboarding process. This ensures new hires aren’t left waiting for access to a computer or other required tools when they start their new job; they have all the resources they need to become productive employees from day one.

3. Provide Comprehensive Training Resources

Whether you’ve hired an entry-level or executive employee, your onboarding process likely includes some form of employee training. Organizations frequently prioritize training at the beginning of the onboarding process, packing mandatory courses into the first days and weeks on the job. This training might focus on generalized and widely-applicable topics like cybersecurity or diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

As such, a great way to improve onboarding time-to-productivity is by offering comprehensive and specialized training resources. For example, on-demand training libraries enable new employees to direct their learning and upskill according to their specific job responsibilities. This means that, rather than waiting for direction from their supervisor, new employees can proactively complete training that will make them more productive.

Not only do comprehensive training resources reduce the amount of hands-on training hiring managers must conduct, but they also give new hires a sense of autonomy and control over their success. As a result, new hires can complete training as they expand their job responsibilities, leading to productivity gains above and beyond basic proficiency.    

4. Set Clear Expectations

Supervisors who clearly articulate their expectations for a role enable new hires to focus their energy on actions that matter. Instead of guessing what their supervisor wants, employees can focus on tasks that meet the needs of their department and organization as a whole. Because individuals can focus on these critical functions, they achieve productivity faster. 

Throughout every human resources onboarding process, supervisors should set clear, measurable, and achievable goals for their employee’s first days, weeks, and months on the job. When an employee starts, many goals may involve straightforward actions like attending basic mandatory compliance training or completing onboarding paperwork. 

As time goes on, hiring managers should set goals that align more specifically with the roles and responsibilities of the job. For example, if you are onboarding a new budget analyst, you may want them to become proficient with your ERP software by the end of their first month on the job. 

Employees can take around eight months to achieve productivity, so think beyond the short term when setting priorities. Let employees know what responsibilities they’ll take on over time and your expectations both now and in the future. 

5. Conduct Regular Check-Ins

Finally, one of the best ways to improve onboarding time-to-productivity is through regular check-ins with your new hire. Check-ins throughout the HR onboarding process provide new employees with the opportunity to voice questions or concerns they have about completing specific tasks. They also provide supervisors the chance to offer feedback about a new hire’s progress. 

Many of these check-ins can occur during formal performance evaluations, like a 90-day evaluation. During these evaluations, supervisors and employees can discuss progress toward meeting specific performance criteria. Performance evaluations also serve as a helpful tool to track progress over time, particularly when supervisors and new employees can refer to notes from previous check-ins. 

That said, check-ins shouldn’t be confined to formal processes alone. Impromptu conversations between new hires and supervisors provide an excellent opportunity to field new hire questions and provide support that can bring them up to speed on internal operations as quickly as possible.

Final Thoughts

Reducing time to productivity saves your organization time and money and ensures new employees can make contributions as quickly as possible. Using NEOGOV’s HR onboarding systems and implementing the steps above is a great way to streamline your process and prepare employees for their new roles.

If you’re ready to learn more about NEOGOV’s HR onboarding system, Onboard, and how it can reduce onboarding time to productivity at your agency, don’t hesitate to schedule a no-obligation demo today.

Mike Tannian

Mike Tannian is the Director of Content Marketing at NEOGOV. With a talented team of writers by his side, he aims to produce content that delivers real value to public sector HR professionals at every stage in the buying journey.

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